fishermen off Kiribati found alive after more than a week at sea
PM Wednesday Nov 9, 2016
fishermen missing at sea for more than a week have been found alive.
men, aged 34-61, who appeared to be in good health, were found about
10.30am by the Royal New Zealand Air Force about 550km west of Tarawa,
the capital and main atoll of the Pacific Islands nation of Kiribati.
from the Air Force's P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft spotted the men
waving from their 5m wooden fishing boat about an hour after they began
Officer Wing Commander Daniel Hunt said finding the missing fishermen
last three or four times that we've been up to that area in search and
rescue missions we've been successful so it wasn't surprising given the
weather conditions ... that we were able to find them."
said he wasn't surprised that the men were in good health when they were
after seven to 10 days, so long as they're still on board their fishing
boat, they're usually pretty well off."
said the RNZAF will stay in the area until a suitable boat is sourced to
pick up the men.
would maybe do six to 10 rescues a year in that area, it's not regular
but it's not irregular."
Orion plans to drop the men emergency supplies consisting of food, water
and a radio and is contacting ships in the area asking them to pick the
am pleased that the fishermen were found safe and well and will now be
able to return to their families," said air component commander air
commodore Darryn Webb.
would also like to commend the aircrew as well as those back here in New
Zealand who supported the search and rescue mission for a job well done.
successful outcome of this mission has demonstrated once again that our
air search and rescue capability delivers vital public service both in
New Zealand and overseas."
Orion left Whenuapai on Tuesday morning to search for the missing
fishermen. The men were last seen leaving Tarawa on Tuesday last week.
original search area was about 3500km north of New Zealand and covered
more than 33,000sq km. Following the unsuccessful aerial search on
Tuesday, the search area was expanded to 55,000sq km.
Rescue Coordination Centre, which is responsible for the search area,
requested the NZDF's assistance after a two-day aerial search by
Kiribati authorities was unsuccessful.
Kiribati search ship Nakoraoi also helped in the search.
RNZAF NH90 medium utility helicopters and the P-3K2 Orion surveillance
aircraft have flown nearly 180 flying hours on search and rescue
missions in New Zealand and the south-west Pacific since January.